I would hide in my room when our turn came.

by Regis Boff

When our next-door neighbor came home drunk and started to beat up his wife, my dad would turn off the TV or radio, and the three of us would sit near the window that offered the best reception.
Sometimes the phone would ring with other neighbors asking us if we were listening. No one ever interfered. The police didn’t want to come, so she was trapped.
We used our ears more back then. Before bed, I would lay next to my dad and listen to the radio. When I was little, the two experiences of radio sound and the woman next door moaning weren’t much different to me in an awkward way.
The wife might show up at our door, crying and bruised. She and my mother would sit in our kitchen with the doors closed. My sound was turned off by whispering.
None of us wanted the husband to come looking for her. I believe my mom tried to convince her to go home.
Nobody wanted to witness her being dragged darkly back across our shared patio by the arm.
I would hide in my room when our turn came.